Police: Suicide bombers kill 20 in northern Cameroon

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

YAOUNDE, Cameroon -- At least 20 bodies have been found in northern Cameroon's regional capital of Maroua after two suicide bombers blew themselves up on Wednesday in a busy marketplace and a popular neighborhood.

Cameroon, which borders Nigeria and has contributed troops to the multinational force fighting the Boko Haram Islamic extremist rebels there, has been repeatedly attacked by the insurgency as recently as Monday.

"We are still searching if there are more bodies because many people were in the market and some are still in their shops," said police officer Eric Bambue, describing the scene as the worst thing he had ever seen.

There were no details about the bombers, but two previous suicide attacks have been carried out by women, a hallmark of the militant group that also uses suicide attacks in Nigeria. Cameroon recently banned women from wearing burka veils after suicide bombers used them to conceal explosives in Fotokol on the border with Nigeria.

Hundreds of people were wounded in the crowded market, said local businessman Ousmaila Toukour.

"Almost all of the goods sold here are brought in from Nigeria, and it is very likely that the bombs were hidden in the goods," he said. "I think the market should be closed and searched."

On Monday, residents of Kamouna village, in the same northern region, said 80 members of Boko Haram attacked and killed 23 people at night, including many children.

Nigeria-based Boko Haram, which this year became the West African franchise of the Islamic State group, has targeted northern Cameroon repeatedly in retaliation for Cameroon's participation in a regional military effort against the extremists. Last week, bombs planted at a bar in north Cameroon by suspected Boko Haram fighters killed 14 people.